15 Days Gama Valley Trek in Mt. Everest Eastern Side
Tour Route: Lhasa - Yamdrok Lake - Shigatse - Trek (Youpa, Eastern Slope of Mt.Everest BC, Lhundupling) - Shigatse - Lhasa
Embark on an epic 15-day adventure through the stunning landscapes of the Mt. Everest Eastern Side on this Gama Valley Trek. The Gama Valley, known as the most beautiful valley in the world, offers stunning landscapes, crystal-clear rivers, and alpine meadows.
Starting in Lhasa, the journey will take you through Yamdrok Lake and Shigatse before starting the trek. Along the way, you will marvel at the majestic Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, and Mt. Makalu, and catch glimpses of the little-known Mt. Chomo Lonzo. The route also takes you through picturesque villages like Lhundupling, offering glimpses into the local Tibetan culture. This adventure is perfect for those seeking a challenging and unforgettable experience in the heart of the Himalayas.
Small group tour (less than 12 people) with fixed departure
Phisycal Demand Level Guide:
1. Easy (1 point) - suitable for all level of fitness, family with kids and senior groups.
2. Moderate (2-3 Points) - suitable for those having average level for fitness, family with kids bigger than 12 years.
3. Moderate to Strenous (4 Points) - suitable for those physically fit and have experiences of high altitude trekking.
4. Strenuous (5 Points) - suitable for adventures and individual with physically fit and healthy.
Fully explore the sunlight city Lhasa with its well-known Potala Palace and holy Jokhang Temple.
Marvel at the turquoise waters of Yamdrok-tso Lake, one of Tibet’s most sacred lakes.
Have a deep discovery of the two important cities of Tsang, Gyantse and Shigatse, climb the dazzling Gyantse Kumbum, and worship before a 26m gold Buddha at Tashilhunpo Monastery.
Trek in one of "the most beautiful valleys in the world" - Gama Valley.
Trek to the Eastern Slope of Mt. Everest Base Camp, a challenging yet rewarding journey that allows you to gaze at Mt. Chomo Lonzo and marvelous glaciers.
Photos & Videos
Day 1: Arrive in Lhasa, get the first impression of Tibet
Welcome to Tibet! Upon arrival, be greeted by our local guide at airport or train station and be presented with traditional Tibetan White Scarf to wish you good luck!
After group photo at airport, you will board on the coach and transfer to your hotel. You will enjoy the spectacular scenery and the typical Tibetan villages on the way.
Stay at the hotel after arrival for adapting to the high attitude. It is helpful to take things easy for the first few days, and try to drink some water just and now.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 2: Lhasa Day Highlights - Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Street
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang Temple. The Jokhang, like most of the larger temple structures have numerous individual temples within it dedicated to specific enlightened beings, protectors, high lamas, or saints. Images, both sculpted and painted, are everywhere. Every inch of wall and ceiling is brightly painted with images of clouds, beings, mandalas, or decorative patterns. Colorful silk banners, three stories high, hang in various places. Color, pattern, and images crowd in around you. The central image inside the building is a 30-foot high gilded image of Maitreya Buddha.
Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes. Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 3: Lhasa to Shigatse via Gyants
After fully explore Lhasa, you’ll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lays several hundred metres below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m). Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m).
Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse.
In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang. In Shigatse, we’ll visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Tibet's second highest incarnation, the Panchen Lama.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 4: Shigatse - Tingri - Chutang - Youpa Village
On the fourth day of our journey, we will set out from Shigatse to Tingri via Lhatse in the morning. During our journey, we will stop at the famous Gawu La Pass (5198m) to admire breathtaking views of the top 5 highest peaks (all above 8000m) and the majestic Himalayas. Later, we will continue on the winding road to Youpa Village where we will acclimatize to the new altitude and prepare for the upcoming trekking and yak registration.
Stay overnight in the guesthouse in Youpa Village.
Day 5: Trek Day 1: Youpa - Showo-tso Pond (10km)
We will wake up early, pack our trekking gears, and leave Youpa Village at around 11:00 am. As we ascend through steppes and rugged paths, we will enjoy the stunning scenery of fluffy clouds and blinding sunshine. The 10km trek will lead us to our first camping site near the enchanting Showo-tso pond. We will climb a total of 900m during the day trek.
Camping at Showo-tso lakeside.
Day 6: Trek Day 2: Showo-tso - Showola Pass - Dolshang (Orchid valley)(14km)
Today we will leave the camping site at Showotso at 10:00 am and embark on a new challenge - to climb over the lofty Showo la pass and then descend to Dolshang valley via gushing brooks covered by vibrant unknown flowers and shrubs.
Doshang forms the initial parts of Gama Valley and picturesque brooks surrounded by amazing snow-capped mountains help to breed massive colorful orchid flowers. As we get down to the valley, we will be intoxicated by the alluring scent of orchid flowers. The stunning waterfalls, exuberant meadows, snowy peaks, etc. will make us feel like we've ventured into a fairyland.
Camping in Dolshang Valley.
Day 7: Trek Day 3: Dolshang (Orchid valley) - Tsonang-tso - Xialong Pasture - Tangsung Viewing Platform (12km)
We will start trekking upwards from Dolshang in the morning, passing through the pristine forest. While climbing through the ridge of the mountain, we can look back and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of Gama Valley. If we arrive at the right time, we can even capture the grandeur of Mt. Makalu (8,463m).
At around noon, we will reach Tsonang-tso lake, cuddled by snow-tipped mountains, and flowing through Gama Valley via an underground outlet. The crystal-clear water surface of Tsonang-tso reflects the spectacular symmetric image of the surrounding snowy summits. After lunch, we will need to pass another mountain pass to reach splendid Xialong Pasture, blanketed with colorful wildflowers. The final part of the trek will lead us to the camping site of Tangsung Viewing Platform.
Camping around Tangsung Viewing Platform.
Day 8: Trek Day 4: Tangsung Viewing Platform - Badang-Ega - Paltang (11km)
As we descend down the zigzag trails towards the Ega prairie located in Badang, we witness the formation of a looming gorge and glaciers on our right side. The source of Gama Valley lies in the running water that we pass through. The final camping site of the day trek is Paltang, but we need to wade through rugged and gigantic rocks to reach there. Rest well and save energy for the challenging trek tomorrow.
Camping in Paltang.
Day 9: Trek Day 5: Paltang - Eastern Slope of Mt.Everest Base Camp - Paltang (18km)
Today's trek is challenging. We hike to the base camp located on the eastern slope of Mt. Everest, but the initial part of the trek involves a difficult upward walk amid huge rocks with a slope measuring 45 degrees. The slope provides a view of Mt. Chomo Lonzo (7804m) and marvelous glaciers along the eastern slope of Mt. Everest. If you prefer to rest instead of trekking to Eastern Slope of Mt. Everest Base Camp, you can enjoy the picturesque view around the camping site in Paltang.
Camping in Paltang.
Day 10: Trek Day 6: Paltang - Ega - Tangsung Viewing Platform (14km)
Retrace the same route and trek back to Tangsung Viewing Platform.
Camping at Tangsung Viewing Platform.
Day 11: Trek Day 7: Tangsung Viewing Platform - Tsosho - rim (11km)
Trek northward towards the campsite of Tsosho-rim below the majestic snow-feathered peaks, appreciating the epic vistas of Mt. Everest (8844.43m), Mt. Lhotse (8516m), Mt. Makalu (8,463m), and an unclaimed peak (7000m).
Camping at Tsosho-rim.
Day 12: Trek Day 8: Tsosho - rim - Nangma-la Pass - Lhundupling Village (21km)
Today, we climb over two soaring mountain passes - the Nangma-la pass (5344m), the highest pass of the entire trek, and another nameless one above 5000m. We pass deep-blue Latsetso Lake before reaching Lhundupling Village.
Stay overnight in the guesthouse of Lhundupling Village.
Day 13: Lhundupling Village - Zhaxizom - Shigatse
Pack up and enjoy the long ride back to Shigatse, admiring the lofty mountain peaks along the Himalayan Range. After reaching Shigatse, enjoy a dinner, take a shower, and spend the last night in the city.
Stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day 14: Shigatse back to Lhasa
Today, you’ll take a slightly different route back to Lhasa along Yarlung Tsangpo River, be wrapped again in the endless vistas of the Tibetan plateau.
Stay overnight in Lhasa.
Day 15: Finish This Unforgettable Tour and Depart from Lhasa
Our guide will transfer you to the airport or train station and help you get on board.
1. Free shuttle between airport/train station and Lhasa City (3 times a day)
2. Excellent local Tibetan English-speaking tour guide
3. AC tourist vehicle all through the trip in Tibet
4. All permits application service, and delivery the permit to your hotel in China before getting into Tibet
5. Drinking water provided daily
6. Welcome dinner at local Tibetan restaurant when group members meet in Lhasa (Group tours only include a welcome dinner after your arrival in Tibet)
7. Admission fee of all tourist attractions listed in Itinerary, including Potala Palace ticket booking service
8. Meals as specified in the itinerary
9. Comfortable hotel accommodations (This does not include single room supplement)
10. Tibet tourist map & eco-friendly drinking bottle
11. Charge of handing all services in your tour, government tax
12. Tourists accident/casualty insurance
1. International flight to and out of China
2. Domestic flight / train to and out of Lhasa (If you need ticket booking service, please leave your requirements in the Online Inquiry form.)
3. Lunches and dinners (Tour guide will organize the dinning for you but please pay on site for around 3-5 USD per meal.)
4. Tips and gratitude to the guide and driver. If you are satisfied with their service, you may consider tipping them at an amount you find it suitable
5. Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks (please do the best to avoid the alcoholic beverages during your Tibet trip), optional tour activities, etc.
1. Tibet Travel Permit
Tibet Travel Permit is a must for Tibet tour. Its cost is included in the tour quotation. Send your passport and China visa copies to us 20 days in advance, and we will apply for the permit after you book a Tibetan tour with us. Shortly after we get your permit from Tibet Tourism Bureau, we will inform you and mail it to your hotel in China via express.
In some extreme cases, our staff will hand it over to you at the airport or railway station. In our experience, we can virtually guarantee to get your permit during times when Tibet is open to foreign travelers.
Tibet is never known for its 5-star luxury resorts, though you can find some like Intercontinental Lhasa Paradise, St.Regis Lhasa Resort, Sheraton hotel, etc in Lhasa. Overall, the accommodation facilities and services are not as good as those in coastal and central parts of China. However, from cheap and clean youth hotel, to distinct Tibetan style 3-star and international 5-star luxury hotel, you will find one that suits your interest and pocket in Lhasa.
We’ve handpicked cozy and safe hotels in the central area of Lhasa, where you will find Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street are just steps away from you. You can easily experience more of the local life and culture. Normally, as you travel to remote areas in some parts of Shigatse like Tingri, or EBC, Ngari, Nagqu, etc. the accommodation would be much poorer. Some may have air-conditioning in the hotel;others may only have electric blanket in the guesthouses. And the food is also very basic.
3.Guiding and Tipping
Our English-speaking guides are natives of Tibet with good knowledge of Tibetan culture, history, and Buddhism. Most are trained to offer Western-standard service. Throughout your stay in Tibet, we will minor your health and provide prompt help to you. If you run into any trouble, please do not hesitate to reach them or our customer service manager.
Travelers’s tipping to Tibetan guide and driver is taken as an extra gratitude to their good service, just like what you do in the west. Normally, a tipping of 7 USD/day is acceptable. The basic rule is good service for good pay.
4.Shuttle Bus Service between Your Hotel and Airport/Train Station
The distance between Lhasa Gonggar airport and downtown Lhasa is 70km.
We can only offer free shuttle service to pick up/drop off tourists between hotels and Gongga airport twice a day at a designated time.
Some of the tourists may have to wait for others for a longtime beyond our designated time, and we advise our clients could book the flights to match our shuttle service time.
The free airport pick-up time is as follows on the day the itinerary begins (From airport to hotel, Fixed departure):
Pick up tourists at 09:30 am; 13:30 pm; 16:30 pm
The free airport drop time is as follows on the day the itinerary closes (From hotel to airport, Fixed departure):
Pick up tourists at 06:30 am; 08:30 am; 12:30 pm
All the shuttle service from/to the train station on the date of tourists' arrival and departure would be free.
If tourists' picking-up/dropping-off time is beyond our fixed schedule, they are required to pay private transfer from 60USD/car.
If passengers are less than 3 per transfer, we may use publish transportation like public airport bus or Taxi instead of using our shuttle service.
Admittedly, to many western tourists, using toilets in Tibet is the most dreadful experience. So, please down play your expectation. If you take Tibet train to Lhasa, both western toilet and squat toilet are available in the train. If you stay in hotel above 3-star hotels in Lhasa, Shigatse, etc. you will have no complaining using standard western flash toilet.
However, if you visit some of the attractions like Yamdrok or Namtso, EBC outdoor, mostly you will see the smelly and filthy pit toilet.It's better to carry enough toilet paper.
6. Tibet Weather
One of the biggest features of weather on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the dramatic temperature change between day and night. The annual temperature in Lhasa is -2℃-- 12℃(spring), 9℃-- 22℃(summer), 7℃-- 19℃(fall), -7℃-- 9℃(winter). Do wear clothes properly such as thermal tops, fleece jacket, breathable underwear, down jacket, jeans, beanie, etc.
Of course, sun screen, lip balm, sun glasses are essential to shield you from powerful blinding sunlight on the plateau. Do drink more water and eat more vegetable as you travel in Tibet. It can prevent you from dehydration.
7. Acclimatization to the High Altitude
For the first timer to Tibet, either by flight or train, a good rest is a must for quick acclimation to the high altitude in Lhasa. Never rush to tour the street or attractions on your own. Walk slower and do not exert yourself like running or jumping. Spending at least two days in Lhasa is a good way to get acclimatized before heading to Shigatse or Namtso. If you have any discomfort, do tell it to your guide,and he will help you out.
8. Other Dos and Don'ts
Normally, taking photos is forbidden in the monastery. If you want to take photos of Tibetan pilgrims, a gentle ask of permission would be appreciated or you can do it from a long distance. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in holy lakes in Tibet; Do not talk about sensitive topics like politics; International tourists are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet according to the policy; Walk clockwise around Barkhor Street; Never venture into the unknown trails; do as much as you can to protect the fragile eco-system in Tibet, etc.
As Tibetan Buddhism is deeply-rooted in every facet of Tibetans' life, always follow and respect the unique customs in Tibet. If you are uncertain about something, it’s advisable to ask your guide before you do it at will.
If you couldn't find a suitable tour deparing on your preferred date, you can send us an inquiry and tell us your travel plan. We can add your travel plan to the calendar so that other like-minded travelers can join in your group.